Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 1

Ancient Songs, Ballads, & Dance Tunes, Sheet Music & Lyrics - online book

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218                                   ENGLISH SONG AND BALLAD MUSIC
PEG A RAMSEY, or PEGGIE EAMSEY.
In Twelfth Night, act ii., sc. 3, Sir Toby says, " Malvolio's a Peg-a-Ramsey, and Three merry men be we." There are two tunes under the name of Peg-a-Ramsey, and both as old as Shakespeare's time. The first is called Peg-a-Ramsey in "William Ballet's Lute Book, and is given by Sir John Hawkins as the tune quoted in Twelfth Night. (See Steevens' edition of Shakespeare.) He says, " Peggy Ramsey is the name of some old song;" but, as usual, does not cite his authority. It is mentioned as a dance tune by Nashe (see the passage quoted at p. 116), and in T/ieShepheard's Holiday-
" Bounce it Mall, I hope thou will,           Spaniletto—The Venetto;
For I know that thou hast skill;            John come hiss me—Wilson's Fancy.
And I am sure thou there shall find        But of all there's none bo sprightly
Measures store to please thy mind.         To my ear, as Touch me lightly."
Roundelays—Irish hayes;                                           Wit's Recreations, 1C40.
Cogs and Rongs, and Peggie Ramsy ; " Little Pegge of Ramsie " -is one of the tunes in a manuscript by Dr. Bull, which formed a part of Dr. Pepusch's, and afterwards of Dr. Kitchener's library. Ramsey, in Huntingdonshire, was formerly an important town, and called " Ramsey the rich," before the destruction of its abbey.
Burton, in his Anatomy of Melancholy, says, " So long as we are wooers, we may kiss at our pleasure, nothing is so sweet, we are in heaven as we think; but when we are once tied, and have lost our liberty, marriage is an hell. ' Give me my yellow hose again:' a mouse in a trap lives as merrily." " Give me my yellow hose " is the burden of a ballad called—
" A merry jest of John Tomson, and Jackaman his wife, "Whose jealousy was justly the cause of all their strife;" to the tune of Pegge of Ramsey; Jbeginning thus—
" When I was a bachelor                     , I cannot do as I have done,
I led a merry life,                                   Because I live in fear;
But now I am a married man                   If I go but to Islington,
And troubled with a wife,                       My wife is watching there.
Give me my yellow again,
Give me my yellow hose, For now my wife she watcheth me, See yonder where she goes." It has been reprinted in Evans' Old Ballads, i. 187 (1810.)
In Wit and Mirth, or Pills to purge Melancholy (1707, iii. 219, or 1719, v. 139), there is a song called "Bonny Peggy Ramsey," to the second tune, which in earlier copies is called 0 London is a fine town, and Watton Town's Mid. The original song, " Oh! London is a fine town," is probably no longer extant. A ballad to be sung to the tune was written on the occasion of James the First's visit to Cambridge, in March, 1614—